Categorized | Business


Park Your Ambitions Outside

By Tom Irmen

At 65 years old, I have had the opportunity firsthand to experience the numerous rebranding efforts that sales professionals have undergone during the past four decades. First we were referred to as salesmen, which no doubt reflected the reality that there were very few women engaged in the industrial sales field. Later, as more women entered the sales force, we became salespeople and then sales specialists. Today we’re most commonly referred to as account representatives.

So what’s changed? Very little, in fact. Despite past rebranding efforts, sales professionals remain far too focused on their own sales commissions and not on the potential results that they could produce for their clients. Now I’m not referring to every sales person, because the most successful sales people – those that earn far above the average – already understand what I’m about to say.

The best advice I have for today’s account representatives, particularly the newest amongst us, is to park your personal ambitions outside your customer’s door before entering. Forget all about last month’s sales, sales contests and incentives, and your ego. You might also consider shifting that professional selling skills course you recently completed into low gear. The fact is, most buyers are put off by these robotic sales techniques. You’ll discover that when you focus 100% on your customers’ needs and not your own, you will be performing at your full potential and providing an experience that will not only differentiate yourself in the minds of your clients, but result in more referrals than you could ever imagine.

Is this heresy? It might be if you or your company have invested thousands of dollars in a professional selling skills seminar. But does it work? You bet it does! And it resulted in earning the number one and 15 spots, out of more than 250 sales representatives nationally, in my first and second years with a Fortune 500 company.

A counter-intuitive approach to sales to say the least, but choosing to focus entirely on your customer needs instead of your own will result in a level of success that will leave your peers scratching their heads – guaranteed!

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